Winner of First World War Centenary paving stone competition announced

Posted on on 05 November 2013
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The British Government has announced the winning design of a Centenary paving stone competition which will honour First World War Victoria Cross recipients.

The competition was announced on the 4th August 2013 as part of efforts to "put Victoria Cross Winners at the heart of the Centenary".

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles unveiled the winning design, by Charlie MacKeith from London, on the 4th November 2013.

More than 200 entries were received for the main competition. Lord Ashcroft, a member of the judging panel, said the designs were a "truly splendid crop", many of which "showed that their creators had put massive effort into their submissions".

Eric Pickles said it "was an honour to reveal the winning design that will take pride of place in our communities and enable people of all ages to appreciate the sacrifices of the fallen brave".

                                            Charlie MacKeith's winning design

Mr MacKeith's circular design seeks to "make one pause and remember" and uses the material, form and lettering of the family of memorials used by the War Graves Commission, "bringing this well understood layout into cities, towns and villages across the United Kingdom".

It impressed the judges with its "simple and elegant qualities", while being suitable to be replicated for all branches of the armed forces.

It will be set in stone in over 400 communities across the United Kingdom to commemorate those First World War soldiers who were awarded the Victoria Cross for valour ‘in the face of the enemy’.

Mr. MacKeith said that it is a "fantastic privilege to win and have my design as a permanent marker for heroes who won the highest award for gallantry".

The design will also incorporate an electronic reader which people will be able to scan using their smartphones to discover more information about their local Victoria Cross recipient.

The paving stone was unveiled at an event at the Army and Navy Club in London – originally founded for former and serving officers of the British and Commonwealth Armed Services, and was attended by the first living recipient of the Victoria Cross in over 30 years, Lance Sergeant Johnson Beharry.

The winning design was selected by a panel of 7 judges, including members of the government’s First World War Centenary Advisory Board - Professor of Modern History Michael Burleigh and novelist Sebastian Faulks.

The Communities Secretary, Eric Pickles, described the winning design as a "fitting tribute to the centenary of the war and will keep the memory of local war heroes alive for hundreds more years to come".

School winners

A large number of entries were received from primary and secondary schools and their designs were judged separately.

Winners will have a full size replica awarded to their school as a record of their success and a permanent tribute to their local heroes.

Primary school winning design

Kiara Hines, age 11, from St Margaret Ward RC School in Sale, Cheshire, won in the primary school category for her "high quality design" which depicts a sketching of 3 lions below the Victoria Cross.

The judges all remarked on how impressed they were with the drawing skills displayed in this entry.

Lord Ashcroft praised the children's category, which saw "some exceptionally good entries" with children displaying "great imaginative powers".

                               Kiara Hines' design, winner of the primary school category

Secondary school winning design

Irfhan Ahmed, age 18, from Queen Mary’s Grammar School in Walsall won the secondary school category for his "striking design" which impressed the judges with the "way it conveys a sense of a line of Victoria Cross winners by showing a row of medals".

                             Irfhan Ahmed's design, winner of the secondary school category

Source: Inside Government UK press release

Date of press release publication: 04/11/2013

Posted by: Daniel Barry, Centenary News